Teaching License Defense Lawyer in Arkansas
All licensed teachers and educators working in Little Rock, Arkansas are expected to abide by the basic standards, rules, and regulations established by the Professional Licensure Standard Board. In case there is any violation, a complaint can be filed against the teacher. If this happens, it is in the interest of the teacher to contact a Little Rock teaching license defense lawyer immediately.
All teachers in Arkansas must obtain a license from the Professional Licensure Standard Board (PLSB). The Professional Licensure Standards Board comprises of teachers, administrators, college and university faculty and Arkansas Department of Education staff. Licenses are only awarded to teachers who meet the minimum college-level preparatory and grade point average requirements. In addition, there is a Code of Ethics and an administrative rule adopted by the State Board of Education that must be adhered to by all licensed teachers. Any unethical behavior of licensed school personnel can be reported to the State Board of Education, and an investigation can be conducted in case a complaint is filed.
It is important to note that if any allegations are submitted against a teacher, the Professional Licensure Standards Board Ethics Subcommittee will investigate the issue and will make its recommendation based on the available evidence. However, the final decision as to how the accused should be dealt with stays with the State Board of Education.
Ethical and Administrative Expectations from Arkansas Educators
All licensed educators in Arkansas are expected to:
- Maintain a professional relationship with their students, both inside and outside the classroom. This also requires the educator to behave in a manner that promotes the mental, emotional, physical health and safety of all their students. In addition, they should show respect for these students and should not undertake any actions that demean, embarrass or harass students.
- Maintain competence in their professional practice and should perform their duties with skill, knowledge, and responsibility.
- Maintain honesty in all their reporting obligations in their field of practice. An educator is required never to do anything that intentionally or knowingly deceives or misleads an educational entity. In addition, educators are required to honestly report data, information, and grades and also honor the required standards when recommending an individual for employment, promotion or licensure.
- Maintain integrity with respect to acceptance of any gratuity, gift, compensation or favor and to not allow this to influence their professional decisions or actions.
- Refrain from using their position for any personal gain. If an educator is entrusted with public funds and property, they are expected to demonstrate honesty and responsibility. They should be a good steward of public funds and should never misuse these resources for personal gain.
- Maintain integrity regarding testing procedures and should always keep test materials and results in confidence.
- Maintain the confidentiality of information about both students and colleagues unless otherwise allowed by law or regulations.
- Refrain from using or possessing and/or being under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as refrain from possessing any items prohibited by law or possessing or using tobacco or tobacco-related products while on school premises or when engaged in activities involving students.
Exceptions to the Code of Ethics for Arkansas Teachers
A violation of the code of ethics does not include:
- A mistake that was made in good faith and with no negative intention;
- An act or omission that was in accordance with instructions of a supervisor;
- An act or omission that was undertaken with the belief that failure to do so would result in an adverse job action against the educator.
What Happens if a Complaint is Filed Against a Teacher in Arkansas?
All licensed teachers and educators need to know that anyone can file a complaint against them with the Department of Education, public school district, or superintendent. All they need to do is fill out an allegation form where they can name the educator in question, their address and contact information, the school information and then briefly state the alleged conduct that they believe was against the Code of Ethics. The complaint form can then be sent to the Arkansas Department of Education.
It is the Professional Licensure Standards Board that establishes all the procedures regarding the reception of a complaint and its investigation. It is also the authority that enforces the code of ethics and conducts hearings in case of complaints and allegations. An ethics subcommittee is established which investigates the complaint and makes its recommendation to the State Board of Education.
When a complaint is filed against a licensed educator, the ethics subcommittee will conduct an investigation. They will provide a written notice of the investigation to the educator specifying the nature of the alleged violation. They will also provide the educator with a copy of the documents and evidence related to the allegation.
Once the ethics subcommittee completes its investigation, they will provide another written notice to the educator that the ethics subcommittee may take an action against the educator.
The educator in question may respond, in writing, to this notice as well as the documentation and evidence within 30 days. Once the ethics subcommittee receives the response from the educator and has all the results of the investigation, they shall issue an initial decision. The committee will provide the educator a notice of the initial decision. The educator has to respond to this initial decision within 30 days. If they disagree with the decision, they can request an evidentiary hearing.
If the Board receives a request for a hearing, they will conduct it as per the rules of the Board. They will then take their decision based on the hearing and will provide the educator a written notice of the action within 10 days.
Based on the allegation as well as the evidence that is presented to the Board, the State Board of Education can do one of the following:
- They can give a written warning to the educator in question and place conditions or restrictions on their activities if required.
- They can revoke or suspend the license or put the education on probation. They can also refuse to renew the educator’s license.
- They can issue a private letter of caution.
- They can dismiss the complaint if there is insufficient evidence.
Throughout this entire procedure, the ethics subcommittee is required to complete an investigation and take action within 150 days of authorizing the investigation in the first place or within 180 days of receiving the complaint if a hearing is conducted. This time limitation must be adhered to except in special circumstances which could include inclement weather, state or national emergencies or any other unforeseeable events.
Seek Legal Counsel to Protect Your Arkansas Teaching License
If you are licensed teacher working in Little Rock, Arkansas and a complaint has been filed against you, you should immediately contact a Little Rock teaching license defense lawyer. You need to do so because it is extremely important that you have the best defense possible. After all, you have put in a lot of time and effort to get your license. For most teachers, teaching is their life and their passion and being able to pass on knowledge and wisdom to their students is imperative for their sense of being. A teaching license defense lawyer will ensure that your case is handled professionally and thoroughly. Most people are unaware of the legal complications associated with such cases and it is definitely not a good idea to undertake your own defense. You can mess up your case even if you are completely innocent simply because you may not be aware of the legal procedures and implications of your case.
Your Arkansas teaching license defense lawyer will prepare the best possible defense strategy for you. After all, you don’t want a little mistake to ruin your entire career. Keep in mind that just because a complaint has been filed against you does not mean you are guilty. There are different circumstances for every case and there are often situations where some action or behavior has been misinterpreted or misunderstood. It is also a possibility that the evidence being presented against you is completely unfair and has no solid foundation. However, even if you do know this is so, you may not be able to convince the Board as effectively as a Little Rock teaching license defense lawyer may be able to do. Therefore, as soon as you get a notification that a complaint has been filed against you and you are informed of the nature of the complaint, you should contact an Arkansas teaching license defense lawyer immediately.
Let your Little Rock teaching license defense lawyer build a strong case on your behalf and let them show the Board that the allegations against you are baseless and unfair. The skill and strength of your teaching defense lawyer can make a big difference in the Board’s final decision. It could mean going from a possible suspension or revocation to a written reprimand. Let your lawyer do the work for you so your career and your life’s work does not go down the drain.
Reach Out to a Teaching License Defense Lawyer in Arkansas Today
If you are a teacher in Little Rock, AR and are in need of a teaching license defense lawyer, contact our legal team at Denton & Zachary. Our lawyers are reliable, relentless and respected. When you decide to work with our teaching license defense lawyer, you can be sure that our legal team will go the extra mile for you.